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Published August 27, 2012, 09:39 AM

Off to school

I think I saw what we’re going through in a Western movie once where there’s a group sitting around the campfire at night and, one by one, they start disappearing.

By: Ryan Taylor, Agweek

TOWNER, N.D. — I think I saw what we’re going through in a Western movie once where there’s a group sitting around the campfire at night and, one by one, they start disappearing. One goes to answer nature’s call and doesn’t come back. Another goes to check the horses and fails to return.

Our little family of five is down to three for a good part of the day now. No, they haven’t been abducted by bandits or captured by a sheriff’s posse, they just got on the bus and went to school.

It seems early for school to start Aug. 22, and it is, but there must be a reason, and most say it’s sports schedules. At any rate, our old veteran studious boy is off to take in the third grade and our easy going, tender-hearted middle son is striking out on his own now to become a kindergartner.

Time will sure slip by you when you’re busy living life. Seems like just yesterday we were bringing them home from the hospital wrapped up tight in a little cotton blanket just as snug as bug in a rug.

It’s down to my wife and me and our four-year-old girl now from the start of the school day until the bus rolls back in the yard in the afternoon, cracks open the door and delivers the little students back to our care. I’m mostly out of the house for work and commitments, so it’s pretty much mother/daughter time for those hours. I don’t think the baby-of-the-family, four-year-old female minds the singular attention she’s getting now when her brothers are gone.

Returning home

And, although we miss our boys, we know they’re coming back and we’re glad we live in a country where everyone gets an equal chance at a good education. We’re not too creative in our conversation when they come through the door as we repeat the standard questions each day, “How was school today? What did you do? What did you learn?”

They’re still young enough where they’ll answer our queries and tell us with some detail just how their day was and what new knowledge was imparted upon them.

The new kindergartner was pretty excited for school. Luckily, his teacher gave him some magic confetti in an envelope to put on his pillow the night before to help him get a good night’s sleep. Being our sharing boy, he gave some to his brother, too. Even third graders get excited for the first day of school and could use a little of that magic confetti.

The teacher said she was so excited for the new school year and the new class of inquiring minds that she kept a little of that confetti back to help get her rest, too. We’re pretty blessed in our little community to have the teachers we do and a school that serves all students no matter what they bring through the schoolhouse door.

As one of the families that has been here for generations, there’s a sense of déjà vu as I squeeze into a tiny chair for a parent teacher conference in the very same classrooms I sat in as a kid, in the same school district that gave my parents their education, too.

We know our children’s education doesn’t come for free, but I believe it’s worth the cost. As it says biblically, “to whomsoever much is given, of them shall much be required.” We’re giving our children a lot when we give them an education, but we will require much of them. We ought to make sure they’re prepared for all that the future holds.